People's attitudes and health behavior based on their habits and experience versus scientific evidence
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Vilnius University Faculty of Medicine Institute of Health Sciences Vilnius university Čiurlionio 21, Vilnius Lithuania
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A931
Background and Objective:
The pandemic years demonstrated huge overload of different information as well as misinformation about heath. This enlightened people’s confusion in their approaches and health behavior which is the key determinant of human health. In order to select the most optimal actions in changes of unhealthy behavior the analysis of human reasoning is particularly relevant. The objective - to reveal the importance and influence of daily habits, experiences vs scientific evidence on health behavior.

In this qualitative study the data were collected from eleven participants using semi-structured interviews lasting in average of 40 minutes. The main guidelines were prepared and informants were asked to tell in general about the daily behaviour and its impact on the health, pros and cons, the reasoning of changing unhealthy habits, awareness and application of scientific evidence, recommendations from health professionals. Data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis according to Braun and Clarke (2013).

The analysis revealed several themes.The personal sensory experiences are key determinants of human health behavioral choices. They can lead to both positive and negative health behavior.Habits are very important for choosing and changing health behaviors. They encourage repeated return to both negative and positive health behaviors.Habits are difficult to change. Pleasurable health behaviors, whether positive or negative, become habitual, sometimes addictive.People may not be fully aware of the role of habits in their health behavior choices. Changing health behaviors is challenging, especially in the long term.Scientific evidence has little relevance to health behavior. It can have an impact when the individual is ready to change behavior.The recommendations from health professionals and health policy makers are accepted if they are shared in an appropriate way.

Peoples health choices are more influenced by their habits and experiences than by scientific evidence.